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On the road with the OAE, Sir Simon Rattle and the Labèque Sisters

Thu 31 May 2012

As we’re about to hit the road with Sir Simon again we thought it was a good time to post this video from last year’s tour with him, when we visited Luxembourg, Paris, Dublin and of course, London.

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We wouldn’t usually do this kind of thing… (AKA exciting stuff is expensive stuff)

Tue 29 May 2012

OAE French Impressionists Appeal

OK. We admit. We wouldn’t usually do this kind of thing. The OAE Blog is for fun stuff, and it’s not about the hard sell. But we hope you’ll indulge us just this once.

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2012-2013 London concerts: now on sale

Tue 14 Feb 2012

Our 2012-2013 Southbank Centre season is now on public sale. It all starts off on 30 September when Emeritus Conductor Sir Roger Norrington returns to us to conduct a programme of Haydn, Cherubini, Gluck, Berlioz and Bizet that not only starts our season but also our 5-event series celebrating strong female roles in opera, Queens, Heroines and Ladykillers. The season continues through until June 2013 with artists appearing including Sarah Connolly, Sir Simon Rattle, András Schiff, Marin Alsop and William Christie. Also during the year our new The Works series continues and we greatly expand our OAE TOTS series of events for those aged 6 and under, with 6 events thoughout the year. The Night Shift will also continue, with performances being announced later.

Details of all performances are now online on our site, or you can alternatively browse the ‘virtual’ concert diary below.

 

Concerts can be booked through Southbank Centre online or on 0844 847 9922

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2012-2013 Season – sneak preview

Wed 25 Jan 2012

As you may have read in a previous post, this Monday we launched our 2012-2013 Southbank Centre season to the press at the Royal Festival Hall. So it’s now time to give you some highlights and tell you what’s in store. Public booking for the season opens on 14 Feb, but you can book NOW if you join the Friends of the OAE. Alternatively members of our Priority Mailing List can book from next Wednesday. All the concerts will be added to our website shortly.

Season Highlights:

Queens Heroines and Ladykillers: A 5-event series celebrating strong female characters in opera. Including:

30 September 2012 Sir Roger Norrington is joined by Anna Caterina Antonacci to sing works by Cherubini, Gluck and Berlioz.
8 November 2012 Sarah Connolly sings Purcell, Rameau and Charpentier.
3 June 2013 A Tribute to Lorraine Hunt Lieberson – William Christie directs an all-Handel concert.

By Jupiter, that’s the last of Mozart!
29 January 2013 – Sir Simon Rattle conducts Mozart’s last 3 symphonies.

Four Seasons
8 February 2013 A brand new collaboration with choreographer Henri Oguike with a world premiere of a dance dance work set to Vivaldi’s seminal Four Seasons, with OAE leader Kati Debretzeni as soloist.

Mozart’s Eroica
25 February 2013 Legendary pianist András Schiff makes his OAE debut with Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos 9 & 24

PLUS

The Works, our new concert series giving you a guided tour of selected pieces continues.

OAE Tots returns with 6 events throughout the year for the youngest of music lovers.

And of course our late-night Night Shift series also continues.

 

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Our top moments of 2011…

Tue 3 Jan 2012

It’s time for our yearly feature where we ask OAE staff and musicians what their top moments of the past year were, so here we go – and feel free to add your top moments to the comments!

“As always with OAE events when you think back over the year it’s SO difficult to pick a clear winner – it could be Matthew Truscott’s gruesome description of how gut strings are made, which had hundreds of children squirming on the edge of their seats in our school’s concert in King’s Lynn; – it could be the incredibly warm reception we had in Keswick where the audience are really hungry for live concerts; but I think in the end it’s a tie between playing for the first time under the baton of Adam Fischer in an exciting and spontaneous Fidelio (the Prisoner’s Chorus in particular was incredibly moving), and the Haydn symphonies with Sir Simon Rattle at the Royal Festival Hall. As always with Rattle it involved digging deep into ourselves and the music, and for me it involved a personal triumph: over-coming the vertigo that came with being, unusually for me, right on the edge of our highly raised platform and managing not to throw myself off the stage.”

Cecelia Bruggemeyer, Double Bass

“This may not seem that positive, but then perhaps it is… my top moment of 2011 was landing at Heathrow airport at 2.15pm on Sunday 25th September. That seems like a pretty precise moment, but it was the end of the busiest summer we have ever known at OAE. I’m in charge of all the orchestra’s touring and it was so good to know that since June we had managed to successfully get an orchestra of up to 90 people around Europe and put on concerts in Luxembourg, Paris, Dublin, London, Glyndebourne, Salzburg, Glyndebourne, Salzburg, Glyndebourne, Ingolstadt, Salzburg, Glyndebourne, Salzburg, the Proms, Edinburgh, Warsaw, Eisenstadt, Warsaw again and Bucharest!”

 Megan Russell, Projects Manager

“Well, 2011 has been a pretty eventful year so it’s REALLY hard to pick my top moment- sitting (almost) next to Madonna in our 21 June concert with the Labeque sisters is almost up there, but I think the best moment was sitting in the Village Underground on the 24 June- listening to my favourite singer, Elin Manahan Thomas singing some beautiful arias at The Night Shift, with an gin and tonic.  Perfect.”

Natasha Stehr. Marketing and Press Officer

“Difficult to choose from three instances of being with the Orchestra in towns or cities where three leading composers were born: Handel in Halle in Germany; Mozart in Salzburg in Austria; or Chopin at Zelazowa Wola near Warsaw.  But I think I’ll go for Chopin as I visited his birthplace on a beautiful summer day in late August and had a good look round the manor house, including the very room where he was born, as well as the church in the next village where he was christened.  I then went back to Warsaw to hear the OAE performing both Chopin Piano Concertos with Yulianna Avdeeva as soloist.  Altogether a special and privileged experience.”

Stephen Carpenter, Chief Executive

“My top moment of 2011 was watching Maggie, Matt and Robin play our very first Pub Night Shift to a very crowded and sweaty full house at […]

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Zen. The man who cam. (AKA yet more on the Rattle tour)

Wed 10 Aug 2011

Important work, getting to know the orchestras with a few beers!

Yes we’re still eking out news from our Simon Rattle tour…

It was the first trip with the Orchestra for our Digital Content Officer, Zen, and here’s his account of the tour:

Often described as the ‘intrepid’ cameraman, I have to say I embarked on this trip, my first OAE tour experience, with a fair dose of trepidation. How would I fair in this close-knit orchestral group for almost 4 days – or more importantly how would they react to having a camera almost constantly in their faces?

The brief was to capture as much footage of the tour as possible and edit it down to a video of duration no greater than 2’59” (a length that was agreeable to the various venues and agents) and to get to know the players better.  A familiarity with the players is very useful when harassing them for a voxpop.  Many have already been subjected to on the spot interviews and know how I usually pounce in rehearsal breaks, but Kings Place where we often rehearse allows plenty of hiding places, not so a packed Eurostar carriage…

Getting to know the players better was something I got stuck into straight away.  The brass/percussion section took me under their wing on the first night in Brussels (a rare night off for the orchestra) confirming the stereotype with a comprehensive tour of the local bars.  I survived, but barely.  The next morning I emerged from the hotel in a daze only to see both coaches departing on their way to Luxembourg… were they trying to get rid of me already? My surname ‘Grisdale’ had been crossed off accidently along with ‘Griffiths’, Kevin our young conductor.  Nevertheless they saw me waving in a panic and let me on board.

So I made it to the Philharmonie Luxembourg, which is a beautiful concert hall in a rather bleak part of town which is largely a building site, a lot of construction going on.  The hall inside is impressive with boxes that look like mini blocks of flats.  After filming the rehearsal I sought to approach Sir Simon Rattle for a few quick words.  In a previous OAE video about CPE Bach I managed to get Sir Roger Norrington in front of the camera as he sipped his tea during rehearsal break and he happily divulged all things CPE.  This technique I wished to apply to Sir Simon Rattle.  Unfortunately it was not to be, so we agreed to postpone it to the final London date at the Royal Festival Hall.

The Labèque sisters were up for it and Katia insisted that I film them as much as possible in rehearsals etc.  However an interview was not on the cards as they were both not feeling well (really they weren’t) but they gave me their word that they would also do it at the Royal Festival Hall…

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Back-Row Blogger: Temporary vagrancy

Wed 27 Jul 2011

Asleep on train

‘Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head’. Neither, from time to time, do musicians. During the Proms for example, morning rehearsals are held in the Albert Hall and the players are then released to roam the streets until the evening concert. If you visit Tate Modern, one of the cinemas in Leicester Square or a West End department store at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, as like as not you will be rubbing shoulders with an oboist or a tuba player. Some take the opportunity to fit in a few hours teaching – and there is always The Pub. Why not go home for an hour or two? It is a common misapprehension that London musicians live in London. Either through choice or necessity, many live beyond the M25, and orchestral schedules frequently result in this temporary vagrancy.

On the last day of the OAE’s tour with Simon Rattle a 6am start (the third in as many days) brought the orchestra back to Heathrow at 10 am for a rehearsal in the Festival Hall at 5 pm followed by a concert and live broadcast. Of course a 6am start is the norm for many workers, but consider that musicians are expected to perform at the height of their powers between 7 and 10 pm, more than 12 hours after the alarm has interrupted their innocent dreams. It is not surprising that the search for an afternoon nap often features prominently in a musician’s day. Indeed, if some enterprising person were to invent a violin case that could convert into a comfortable inflatable mattress, they would be sure of a market, and one OAE double bass player has admitted to curling up inside his womb-like, padded case. On the morning in question a member of the Back Row hit upon an ingenious solution. Having gone to Liverpool St station to buy an advance ticket for her homeward journey after the concert, she noticed that the Norwich train was due to leave in ten minutes. Purchasing a day return to Colchester, she boarded the train, and was soon sleeping soundly. At Colchester she caught the next train back to London and was able to sleep for another hour. On reflection it is quite likely that she is not the only musician to have used the railways in this way. Next time you see someone asleep on a train in the middle of the afternoon, tap them on the shoulder and ask what instrument they play. You may be surprised at the answer.

Back Row Blogger

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Rattle tour – Megan's pics

Mon 4 Jul 2011

The Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

OAE Projects Manager Megan Russell is a keen photographer and took some great pictures from the Luxembourg and Paris legs of the tour – here are a selection:

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Madonna and the OAE. Not often you see that written…

Fri 1 Jul 2011

Madonna

Last Tuesday’s concert at the Royal Festival Hall with Sir Simon Rattle was always going to be a busy night. Not only was it Sir Simon, which always brings a frisson of excitement, but we had a sold-out Royal Festival Hall, which while fantastic, is always a little stressful. We also had a plethora of different receptions going on around the venue for the various people who had supported our Silver Appeal and for our sponsors, Commerzbank. At the last moment though, an additional complication was thrown into the mix.

As you might have read previously on the blog we knew that Madonna liked the Labèque sisters, so we really did send an invite to her. Of course we didn’t think for a minute she would actually come. The day before the concert our Intern, Georgina, received a mysterious call from someone needing to make special arrangements for a VIP. They had previously been in contact with our Projects Director, Ceri, but she was now in the air en route to Dublin. So Georgina took down all the details and requests of the mysterious VIP without actually knowing who it was. Ceri was uncontactable for the next 2 hours – cue feverish speculation in  the OAE office.

As soon as Ceri landed Georgina called her. It was indeed the Queen of Pop Madonna. To use teen speak, everyone was a bit OMG.

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Susie’s mid-tour blog: drama off-stage

Fri 1 Jul 2011

Violinist Susie Carpenter-Jacobs sent us this blog from mid-way through our tour with Sir Simon Rattle the other week:

There’s been hectic activity in the orchestra this week: Haydn and Mozart have been jostling for supremacy in the hands of Sir Simon Rattle and the Labèque sisters, from Luxembourg, to Paris, Dublin and the Royal Festival Hall; rehearsals for Handel’s Rinaldo have started in London, and Don Giovanni continues to seduce the ladies at Glyndebourne.

As a Don Giovanni stage-band participant for the first time this year, it has been instructive to discover that, while lust, death and deception is pouring forth from stage and pit (and that’s before curtain up), stage-band life itself involves skulking around the murky underworld of props cupboards and scenery stores down in the depths of the opera house, whilst keeping an eye on the clock and an ear to the back stage relay system. For, every musician’s nightmare is to become aware that the cue to your vital musical moment has arrived whilst you are situated several staircases and corridors away from imminent action.

Last Sunday the classiest musical event at Glyndebourne took place during the first act of Don Giovanni, well away from the drama unfolding on the stage: a landmark, debut performance of “Knickerbocker Glory” given to a small, select audience by the youngest soloist to have played at the opera house this year – six year old Nona – daughter of Jo (violin) and Martin Lawrence (horn); delivered with style, panache and aplomb, in time honoured fashion in the OAE.

 

So brilliant was Nona’s playing that this correspondent was granted permission to join her for a triumphant encore – before the former collapsed in a heap, and the latter sprinted niftily down the aforementioned staircases and corridors to join stage band colleagues gathering in a storage cupboard.

For, over the Tannoy, Zerlina had launched into “Batti batti” and the cue for our brief appearance was approaching…

Susie Carpenter-Jacobs, violin

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OAE, Rattle and Lebeques in Luxembourg: pictures

Mon 27 Jun 2011

Sir Simon Rattle, photo taken by Sebastien Grébille

Full service on the blog will resume tomorrow, but in the meantime here are some pictures from our performance at the Philharmonie in Luxembourg the other week, where we performed with Sir Simon Rattle and the Labèque sisters. All pictures © Sébastien Grébille.

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Rattle. Reviewed.

Thu 23 Jun 2011

Sir Simon Rattle concert at The Royal Festival Hall

Well, the reviews are in from our Rattle concert on Tuesday at the Royal Festival Hall, plus a couple from the tour too. You can read them via the links below, but here are three of our favourite quotes:

“That continuing rapport was immediately and sustainedly obvious in this delightful Haydn and Mozart concert, and all without any of the publicity overload that surrounded his Berliner Philharmoniker dates earlier in the year.

There was some Haydn in those Berlin programmes, too, but this time, working with a much smaller and more specialist band, the treatment was more authentic and enjoyable.” THE GUARDIAN (4 stars)

“It was in the two Haydn symphonies that Rattle and the OAE best showed what a triumphant partnership the two have honed in some 25 years working together” THE TIMES (5 stars)

“When this music is played by the OAE light doesn’t just dawn, it dazzles; and even more so when Sir Simon Rattle is on the podium” THE TELEGRAPH (5 stars)

Guardian

Telegraph

Times

BBC Music Magazine

Classical Source

Bach Track

Irish Times (Dublin concert)

Petite Classique (Luxembourg concert, in French)

Picture by Joe Plommer

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Rattle: listen to it all over again here

Wed 22 Jun 2011

Last night’s concert of Mozart and Haydn with Sir Simon Rattle and the Labèque sisters was broadcast LIVE from the Royal Festival Hall by Radio 3, and it’s available to listen to all over again online here for the next 6 days. Enjoy! Listen to the concert here

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Rattle: the morning after the night / tour before

Wed 22 Jun 2011

Office asleep. This photo is not an accurate depiction of life in the OAE office...

Well, after five cities, four concerts, three trains, two planes and one coach our tour with Sir Simon Rattle is over. Everything culminated in a sold-out concert at the Royal Festival Hall last night (a concert that marked 25 years of the OAE!) , and not only was it sold out but we had a few added complications, not least of which being a last-minute special guest – none other than Madonna!

Today we have a slightly tired team in the office (and most probably a slightly tired Orchestra too!) but we’ve not long to catch our breath – the Orchestra is rehearsing today and tomorrow for the Glyndebourne production of Rinaldo and Friday sees our Night Shift at Village Underground.

In the coming days look out for special reports, pictures and footage from the tour, plus a full report on last night’s action-packed evening at the Royal Festival Hall.

Oh and if you want to get in early next year’s concert with Sir Simon is already on sale…

William Norris, Communications Director

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Katia Labèque: Speed Interview

Mon 20 Jun 2011

Katia and Marielle Labèque

In June 2011, we spoke with Katia Labèque as she prepared to tour with Sir Simon Rattle and the OAE for the first time.  As we join them once more for tonight’s concert of French Fancies, we take another look at that Speed Interview…

What/when was your big breakthrough?
I suppose when our first CD of Rhapsodie in Blue went gold in few months. It did focus the attention of the people on us and also on the repertoire we were playing.

What do you fear the most?
Death of the people we love.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
I don’t call often because I prefer the computer.

What – or where – is perfection?
Thank God perfection does not exist…that gives each of us the possibility to try to reach it.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Bartleby: “I would prefer not to…” If I really have to explain, I see him as an artist who refuses to compromise his art, who refuses to conform to the model of the society he lives in…

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Sir Simon Rattle – what makes him so special?

Thu 16 Jun 2011

As I write this the OAE is downstairs in Hall 2 of Kings Place where they are in day three of rehearsals with Sir Simon Rattle. Sir Simon is one of the OAE’s closest collaborators and has worked with us almost since the Orchestras inception – his first concert was in 1987, just a year after the Orchestra was founded. Now one of the OAE’s three Principal Artists, (alongside Vladimir Jurowski and Iván Fischer) he works with us on a regular basis, with a tour most seasons. In the rehearsal yesterday we caught up with some OAE players in the break to ask them just what makes him such a special and exciting conductor to work with.

William Norris, Communications Director

 

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/29486735 w=412&h=300] Read More

The fortepianos have landed

Wed 15 Jun 2011

Anyone who knows us well will know that we don’t ‘do’ ordinary pianos. We use period pianos, in-keeping with our philosophy of being authentic. Ceri, our Projects Director, has promised to write a little blog about the pianos used on our upcoming tour with the Labeque sisters, so look out for it appearing here soon. In the meantime, today was our first rehearsal with the sisters and the Fortepianos, basically early versions of today’s piano, were looking rather splendid.

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Madonna introduces the Labèque sisters (AKA 'Where's my champagne?')

Tue 14 Jun 2011

Well we’ve been waiting to post this video for over a year now, since we first came across it. It’s even spawned an office catchphrase (ok, a Communications Department catchphrase) in ‘Where’s my champagne?’.

Anyway in this video, Madonna (the new face of OAE videos), introduces her favourite pianists, the Labèque sisters, to her entourage of dancers and musicians. The Labèques appear with us on tour with Simon Rattle this week and next, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto for two pianos in Luxembourg, Paris, Dublin and London.

Enjoy the vid – we did send Madonna an invite to the London concert, but I guess it must have got lost in the post…

William Norris, Communications Director

P.S. Where’s my champagne?

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The Apprentice (conductor). The search is on.

Tue 14 Jun 2011

2010-2011 Melgaard young conductor Kevin Griffiths

 

There are just a matter of weeks left to apply to our OAE Melgaard Young Conductor Scheme.  The scheme has been running now for 4 years, and gives budding young conductors the opportunity to nestle up close with the OAE, observing rehearsals alongside great OAE conductors, getting to know and share knowledge with players, and also gaining an insight into the behind the scenes operations in the office (the most exciting part in my humble opinion…)  Through an application and audition process one conductor will be chosen at the audition day this October (not quite like X-factor but almost as exciting).  The conductor will work with the OAE from the autumn for a period of 9-12 months.

For me this part of the scheme’s schedule is both the most exciting and the most overwhelming.  Exciting because you never quite know where from and how many applications are going to come flooding in –  will the next young Vladimir Jurowski or Sir Simon Rattle be amongst the pile of applications?  We usually get in the range of 100 applications so you can imagine the admin that goes with that….That’s 100 DVD packages arriving on my desk, 100 application forms, 100 CV’s, and 100 support letters.  Anyway – that’s the fun of the job J and as we sometimes say in the office ‘today I’m putting the admin into arts admin’.

Watch this space for future developments… (and find out more details of how to apply here)

Ceri Jones, Projects Director

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On tour with Sir Simon: a preview

Mon 13 Jun 2011

Sir Simon Rattle

Well today is the first day of our latest project with our Principal Artist Sir Simon Rattle (pictured conducting us a few years ago in Budapest). Of course everyone is *quite* excited about it. We’re touring a concert of Mozart and Haydn, which also features pianists Katia & Marielle Labèque playing the Mozart Concerto for two pianos.

This afternoon and evening sees our first rehearsal with Sir Simon (he’s coming to us straight from a project with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra), with further rehearsals Wednesday and Thursday (we have a rehearsal of Rinaldo for Glyndebourne on the Tuesday). That evening we’re off to Brussels – staying the night there and onto Luxembourg on Friday. We give a concert in Luxembourg Friday night before travelling onto Paris for a concert there on Saturday. We’ve also just found out that we’re going head to head with the London Symphony Orchestra that night – we’re at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, while they are at the Salle Pleyel – and we’re even staying at the same hotel!

Sunday morning we travel back to London before flying to Dublin for a concert at the National Concert Hall on Monday night. Then it’s an early flight back Tuesday to London and the final concert of the tour at the Royal Festival Hall.

It’s going to be an exciting week and we’re going to try and bring you as much news as possible along the way. Make sure you also follow us on Twitter and Facebook to hear the latest.

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